Moving abroad checklist, 10 easy steps to follow

szeptember 26, 2019

Moving abroad Checklist

Moving abroad usually looks more like enormous chaos when you need to decide what to bring and what to let home, what to do and not to forget. And if you do not prepare well your trip can become a real nightmare especially knowing that most of the time you will be moving abroad alone.

What to do when moving to another country?

From your paperwork to your house or your clothes you should always try to think it through and keep it simple. Except if you are able to rent a private aeroplane, chances are you will be restricted in the size and weight of your luggage. Your best opportunity is to take only what matters to the country you are moving to. So we dressed a list of 10 points for you! 

Overall List : 

  1. Inform your authorities
  2. Paperwork
  3. Look for a new place
  4. Decide what to do with your old home
  5. Take a glimpse of your new city
  6. Moving furniture
  7. Moving pets
  8. Mobile and Internet
  9. Your plane tickets
  10. The right luggage

Inform your authorities :

We added it on top of the list to remind everyone not to forget it. You are going through a lot of rush and this might the tiny detail that might cost you a lot.

Informing the authorities (Your current tax office, and the coming) that you are moving is a requirement and will avoid that you will pay double taxes, be in trouble for any paperwork you need to do, or worse, lose benefits in the country you moved to, such as free hospital or help for medication.

Paperwork :

You will obviously need them to pass the border, but be sure they are up to date! Even moving within the European Union, you need a valid ID or better Passport for at least 6 months from moving date. 

It is also true your insurance policies, bank accounts and job contracts if you have them. European also benefit from the European Health Insurance Card, but you need to ask for it.

(psst… that’s the blue plastic card, make sure you update it before you move!)

You also want to check if you don’t have to change your accounts to make them international. Taking the example of your bank account abroad, you don’t want to pay extra fees because your old bank didn’t know you were moving so they charged you for it.
Solutions exist nowadays with online banking (Revolut, N26,…) where you can obtain international Mastercard with insurance policies included; this is also a good way to avoid too much paperwork.

Look for a new place :

If you are lucky enough and you are moving for a company, you might get an apartment already waiting for you, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t happen a lot…
In this case, take your time to think of your needs : 

  • Am I moving alone or not?
  • Am I ready to be in a shared apartment ?
  • Do I have pets to keep?
  • How far from the centre should I be? 

Once you have gathered your thoughts and priorities, rely on a good friend of us all: internet/social media
You could never find better advice to move to Barcelona than someone on a Facebook group that already had a similar experience than yours and can give you the best piece of advice about your scouting for a new flat. Those groups are a gold mine when it comes to advice as all people here were in a similar situation as yours? 

Decide what to do with your old place :

Moving means that you won’t be needing your old place anymore. Unless you can afford to pay 2 rents, you might want to put your home for sale or for rent in some way.

Be prepared for it in advance, your house will probably not sell itself in 3 days, and managing a sale when you are not on site is not an ideal situation.
So think about what you want to do with it and contact an agency so that they can take care of it without you being stressed out about it. It will cost you a tiny bit more but that is a price to pay for tranquillity and peace of mind.

Take a glimpse of your new city

The easiest way for you would be to go on Maps and look at all the points of interest surrounding you. From supermarkets to historic places or public transport, it will make your life insanely easier if you are already prepared before day 1. Use Google earth to get familiar, and MAPS.ME to pin all the interesting places you hear about or find in your search. Then download the offline map and you are ready to explore.

Also, take the time to research any activities/parties/events that take place when you will be arriving, this way you will feel integrated and avoid homesick quickly. This is a good way to discover new places and meet new people as well.

If you want to push a step further, you can always take a trip there and enjoy the taste of future life, but that is not always possible if you are moving rather fast.

Moving furniture:
There are 2 different scenarios here.

Number 1: You have some furniture you care about and want to send to your new location as you know that you are moving for a long term period, or you need to ask friends or family to store it for you whilst you are gone!

Number 2: You simply don’t want to own all of that and just leave with your luggage and that’s all.

The latter will obviously be easier to take care of, SELL IT, earn some pocket money! Safe only what has true emotional value to you, maybe that can fit in a small box that you bring with you, or store at some good friends house. 

IF  you have furniture to move, you will need to check for a company to ship them for you or rent a container that will move with you. Depending on the size you need, one will be more expensive than the other. But there are specialised companies that can take care of it from A to Z and the only thing you’ll need is to take care of yourself. Take the one we found here 

Moving pets:

Taking your pet with you includes different steps. Requirements include the implant of a microchip from a vet that will be able to identify the animal, so ask your vet about it and the timeline for the chip to be implanted. Your pet will also need to be immunised against rabies at least 21 days before the move. Depending on what country you are moving to, your pet might need more than one vaccination. 

Now that your pet is ready, you have to think about the transport itself, its travelling crate, how it would fit in an aeroplane/bus/car, what quantity of food and drinks to take for it, all for the comfort of your pet. Always think about what makes it less stressful for the animal, is it over 12Kg it will need to be checked in the aeroplane, and if it has never travelled before it might be a hard experience. 

Mobile and Internet :

We are in a generation that can’t live without the internet, so you better be aware of your phone package and what it will bring you. IF your subscription is already international, be careful of the amount of data you can use, some can be tricky and only work in specific countries. -Always ask your provider. 

Your plane tickets:

We assume that you will move by plane, but this advice is also compatible with any transport you can take. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight!

IF prices of the tickets seem to be too attractive, they might come with constraints and requirements on luggage size, room for your legs or features onboard! Always double-check. 

*Flights can be a lot cheaper if you take a layover in another airport. Check tickets comparators online (,,…) that can allow you to save some money, and we like that 😉


The right luggage:

That might seem obvious, but how many times did you go on vacation in a sunny place and brought 2 extra sweaters and a coat you will never wear? Do your research on your destination to see which clothes will fit the climate better. / Check what time a year you are moving, maybe you are moving just before winter season, then leave some summer cloths around with friends (they will come visit, so they might as well bring you a bag of your cloths) 

Once you gathered all the clothes you need, cut it by 1/3! It’s human behaviour to overpack and prevent every single situation, but you know what 99% of your days will look like and you also know that you definitely don’t need that pair of heels or that pineapples short of yours that you wear only once.

Your reward comes here: you will have a lighter bag (or you will be able to fill it with more important stuff) and clothes you don’t bring can be resold to another and can help you gather a little of cash before moving which is always nice!